What Would I Do If I Weren’t Afraid?

My greatest fear is not of failure, or being a social outcast, or even a financial disaster—rather, it is that one day, I will wake up and realize that the life I have is a result of being sucked into the beliefs of the people around me.

Ever since I was a child, I have always been cautious. I was never the type to rush into things—instead, I would observe, test, think, and slowly inch out of my comfort zone.

Here’s what I would do if I weren’t afraid:

  • I would travel (to New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, etc.) by myself, meet new people, and get immersed in different cultures
  • I would unabashedly photograph (and occasionally talk to) strangers
  • I would go backpacking in the wilderness and become a wildlife/nature photographer
  • I would learn to drive
  • I would drive to mountains and take photographs of the stars
  • I would ask more questions—lead with curiosity and the desire for knowledge
  • I would say how I really feel (be vulnerable) and show my true self (be authentic)
  • I would scuba dive
  • I would design and build a house
  • I would run a marathon
  • I would write and publish more op-eds
  • I would dedicate myself to a single pursuit and devote my whole life to it

Fear has been a large part of my life, for better or for worse. Yet, fear hasn’t really stopped me from following my dreams—because, for me, the fear of not pursuing my passions and being mediocre is stronger than the fear of failing.

As I made this list, I realized that most of the things I’m pursuing right now genuinely make me happy. Even though I’m not a professional photographer or traveling to the places of my dreams, I am in college to expand my mind and pursue a dream that I have had since childhood: space exploration. I’d say I’m on a pretty good path right now because most of the things on my list can be pursued on my current trajectory. And who knows–maybe some will be done this very year!

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